Oscar Tuazon identifies primarily as a sculptor, though his practice occupies a position between sculptural concerns, architecture and activism. His large-scale installations consist of structures that foreground their own means of construction, most notably through his use of industrial materials. Much of Tuazon’s work is influenced by Minimalist strategies, yet his concerns push far beyond the elements of purity in form. He considers a sculptural installation as being analogous to a house, as both are continuously built, repaired, and maintained. By extension, the act of inhabiting or occupying a space functions as a kind of extension of his artistic production, serving as the undercurrent of his predominantly site-specific practice.
One of Tuazon’s most ambitious projects to date is an architectural installation entitled Zome Alloy - a hollowed wooden structure consisting of eleven traversable polyhedral units, or zomes. The installation is modelled after the Zome Home, a solar-powered house in Albuquerque, New Mexico designed by innovators Steve and Holly Baer. One of the defining features of the Baers’ home is a double-paned glass wall that utilises water as a heating and cooling mechanism. Though passive and sustainable, the system must be manually operated by the home’s residents, an aspect that circles back to Tuazon’s views on sculpture and the way that interaction can actively maintain it.
Tuazon refers to each zome installation as a “water school” as the structure becomes a hub for discussion and education about the environment in which it is located. His studio is the ‘Los Angeles Water School’, or LAWS. The Minnesota site is ‘Winona’s Water School’, in honour of activist Winona LaDuke. Tuazon is planning an additional permanent, public water school in Cedar Spring, Nevada to bring art and awareness to a remote and ecologically fraught region, where the water that has served the community and environment for thousands of years is at risk of being siphoned through a pipeline to serve more commercial areas.
Oscar Tuazon encourages support of the International Leonard Peltier Defence Committee (ILPDC) ongoing activism by contributing through this website: www.whoisleonardpeltier.info
Through the recent instigation of LAWS, Tuazon has actively used the site of his studio as a platform for exhibition and discussion. NSRGNTS, Bus Bench (Peltier / NoLine3) a cast iron bus bench that was recently shown in Language: Art for Leonard Peltier at LAWS will be installed in the gallery along with Protector Structure (Voices of Water) that was made for the 2017 Voices of Water tour Tuazon hosted in his outdoor studio following his time spent at Standing Rock.